PDA Hairdressing Practice SCQF level 8

PDA Hairdressing Practice SCQF level 8

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA in Hairdressing Practice at SCQF level 8 covers specialist skills within the hairdressing sector; allowing learners to be competent in assessing and internally verifying vocational hairdressing qualifications.

This qualification covers areas that are important in the hairdressing sector such as understanding of planning, designing, and creating a range of hairdressing services incorporating routine and complex professional skills which relate to current practices and designs.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers, and some employers. It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of workshops and self-directed study.

Why deliver this qualification

PDAs are trusted because they are developed by practitioners from industry and are supported by the relevant sector skills council - HABIA. Industry has recognised that the qualification fits the job.

The PDA in Hairdressing Practice at SCQF level 8 comprises of two units that offer current, fit for purpose, bite-sized chunks of learning that are straightforward for centres to adopt and for learners to study. New skills can be gained quickly and cost effectively.

The framework of mandatory and units enables centres to tailor their offer to meet local needs while the size of the unit also supports flexibility - units are a more manageable size for employee training.

PDAs can add value and breadth to a CV for a learner by developing vocational skills.

This PDA covers SCQF levels 7-8, allowing clear progression and development routes to:

  • higher level education
  • employment

This PDA provides opportunities to develop:

  • transferable skills
  • employability skills         

The PDA could be offered in one of the following modes:

  • full-time (such as a fast-track into a full NC or HN programme)
  • part-time (such as day release)
  • evening provision

Who does this qualification suit

The PDA is suitable for:

  • mature candidates who may have been out of education for a long period of time
  • individuals who are currently in employment and wish to obtain a formal qualification
  • those who are looking to access HN programmes
  • employees who want to develop their careers
  • individuals who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short continuing professional development courses


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, it is recommended for learners entering the level 8 award to have completed some training at level 7.


The level 8 award could provide progression to:

  • an HNC/HND in Hairdressing or a related area
  • employment in the hairdressing sector, perhaps as an assessor or internal verifier


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Assessment of this award will be a combination of practical and knowledge assessments under closed and open-book assessment conditions. It is recommended that centres refer to the assessment and evidence requirements for each unit.

The delivery of the award is at the individual centre’s discretion.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

Group award code: GP2R 47 (16 SCQF credit points)

The PDA in Hairdressing Practice at SCQF level 8 consists of 2 mandatory units (16 SCQF credit points).

Group Award Specification